Mark Williams is through to his eighth Crucible quarter-final after completing a 13-7 defeat of Robert Milkins at the Betfred World Championship.
Two-time Crucible king Williams failed to reach the final stages of the World Championship in 2017, after losing 10-7 against Stuart Carrington in qualifying. Such was his slump in form that the Welshman had claimed that he had considered giving up the sport.
However, Williams has enjoyed a renaissance this season after picking up his first ranking title since 2011 with victory at the Northern Ireland Open. He then went on to double his title tally for the campaign by winning the German Masters.
World number 37 Milkins was making his third appearance in the last 16 stage at the Crucible and enjoyed a 10-5 upset victory against 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson in round one. However, this evening’s task proved to be too much.
Williams came into tonight with a 10-6 advantage and immediately added to that with a sublime century run of 101. Milkins did pull a frame back, but further breaks of 83 and 72 by Williams saw him through to the last eight.
The Welshman will now face Ali Carter, as he aims to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2011.
Williams said: “I’m in the quarter-finals and there’s only three more matches to go, anyone can win it. I’m just looking forward to playing now. If I can carry on playing the way I finished off tonight I’ll be much happier.
“I’m playing some of the best stuff I’ve played in a long time. How long it will last I don’t know. It will be an interesting test after this season to see how I get on next season. If I can continue playing the way I am, or if this is just a one season fluke.”
The 20-time ranking event winner also joked about his quarter-final opponent Carter’s fiery second round encounter with Ronnie O’Sullivan, saying: “He stood up to Ronnie O’Sullivan, played some good stuff and was the better player all the way through the match. When I play tomorrow I might have to walk sideways back to my chair a couple of times in case he gives me a dig, but apart from that I’ll be fine.”
Milkins said: “Mark played really well. I just didn’t perform the way I have to at this level. He was the better player overall, so it’s a fair scoreline.
“I didn’t seem to get on a roll like I did against Neil Robertson. Mark made it more difficult than Neil did to be fair. I wasn’t able to fluster him and get two or three frames on the run. I know I could have, but I just didn’t play well enough to do that.”